Vail Valley preps: Steamboat cruises past Battle Mountain, 53-32
EDWARDS – A 13-point lead really shouldn’t be insurmountable.
It is when you’re down to Steamboat Springs boys basketball.
The Sailors jumped out to a 15-2 first-quarter advantage and rode it home to a 53-32 win Friday night against Battle Mountain in Edwards.
Steamboat jumped out to that lead, by playing in a high 2-3 zone, putting heavy pressure on Battle Mountain’s guards, preventing the Huskies from starting a 3-point assault like they did last week in a win against Delta.
“That was the main thing for us – just put ball pressure on the guards, and try to create turnovers,” said Steamboat coach Luke DeWolfe, whose team moved to 6-6 overall and 1-1 in the 4A Slope. “With our speed and our athleticism, we felt we could jump some passing lanes and create some turnovers.”
And that set the tone for a basic Steamboat game – tenacious defense, a patient offense, waiting for its shot and the requisite deadly 3-pointers from Justin Anderson (15 points) and Isiah Forsyth (14).
Anderson knocked down three treys in the first, and the Sailors started rolling.
“All of my coaches talked to me before the game,” Anderson said. “They kind of gave me the green light. I just went out there and felt my shot.”
Up 13, Steamboat couldn’t deliver the haymaker to knock out Battle Mountain, but the Huskies, who showed more life after the first quarter, couldn’t erase the margin.
“They were on and we weren’t,” Huskies coach Tom Padilla said. “We shot 9-for-41. That’s not going to do it. I felt we weren’t as focused against a good team as we should have been. Give Steamboat credit. They’re a great program. Defensively, they were awesome.”
Steamboat led, 24-14, at the half, but every time the Huskies made a run, the Sailors answered. Forsyth and Anderson had consecutive 3s in the fourth to increase their lead to 45-25. Battle Mountain had the next seven points only to see Steamboat’s Charles Wood make the play of the night with a behind-the-back lay-up with which he also drew the foul for a 3-point play.
“I automatically voted it top five on ESPN,” joked Anderson. “We’re thinking of sending it in.”
Eric Gurule led Battle Mountain (7-4, 1-1) with 12 points.
Spitellie’s seven 3s lift Sailors
Steamboat Springs girls basketball struggled early against Battle Mountain Friday night, so the solution was No. 32 – Tara Spitellie.
The senior pocketed a career-high seven 3-pointers on her way to 23 points as the Sailors were able to pull away from Battle Mountain, 56-33.
“It was one of those things where you have to keep going,” Spitellie said. “You have to pick everyone up.”
One of the reasons the Sailors were having problems was that Battle Mountain put forward a very solid effort in the first half, trailing just 24-17.
“Offensively in the first half, we were not in the flow,” Steamboat coach John Ameen said. “Credit to (Battle Mountain), they get after it on defense. We did not respond well. We got looks in spots, but it wasn’t consistent. That third quarter was more like what we can do.”
In that third quarter, the Sailors (6-6, 1-1) outscored the Huskies 17-4 with three more 3s from Spitellie and balanced scoring from Hannah Moore and Katie Lettunich, who finished the night with nine and eight points, respectively.
For Battle Mountain, it was a good showing against a league opponent. Kenia Olivas had 19 points for the Huskies.
“I think the girls have a little more confidence,” Battle Mountain coach Andrew Schmid said. “The girls are doing things the right way, especially in the first half. They doing things right. That’s just what we need to do. We need to put together four quarters. That No. 32, if she doesn’t have seven 3s, then it’s a different game.”
The Sailors and Huskies are right back at it today. Steamboat hosts Eagle Valley at 2 and 3:30 p.m., while the Huskies are at Craig for Moffat County at 4 and 5:30 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.